School Starting Age and Crime

Research report

September 2013


Externally reviewed

Study Paper No. 58


Written by: Rasmus Landersø, Helena Skyt Nielsen and Marianne Simonsen


According to Danish law, up until 2009 children were supposed to start school in the calendar year in which they reached the age of seven. Some children started before they should have done. Many started later. However, the effects of an early or late school start were not clear. This paper presents a study of the significance of the age of starting school for whether young people later turn to crime. It turns out that the effects on criminality are not the same for all children. Children from resource-rich families exhibit a lesser proclivity to commit crime if they begin school later. However, a late school start has no reducing effect on youth crime among children from resource-poor families.